Blog: Why?

Christine Alfery

Posted on November 14 2019

Blog: Why?

Featured image: Sunrise Over The Islands

The Wall Street Journal always has some very interesting reading in the arts section. On November 9th, 2019 Ingela Ratledge Asundson wrote an article titled “When It All Starts With Art”.  I would like to share it with you all. Generally, for the most part, folks share articles with others because it makes a point that they have been talking about for some time. Usually, this is to convince them of either a different perspective or their perspective.  

For me, this article reinforces something that I’ve been saying since the 60’s but more so these days because of all the sofa art coming from overseas and all the copy-cat work everywhere, on line, in galleries, and exhibition halls.  Not only have I been talking about “what is art?”, but also I’ve been asking “why?”. Why do decorators have to match everything to the extent that the rooms that they decorate have no flavor, no spice, and no personality? Ingela Asundson addressed this point in this article:

IN THE DESIGN world, almost no crime offends more than perpetrating a “matchy matchy” room. That’s why decorators, in an effort to spare their clients from committing this unspeakable faux pas, counsel against picking artwork that coordinates too slavishly with its surroundings. A person of taste, this dictate prescribes, would never choose, say, a tempest-tossed seascape that’s predominantly blue for a room that itself is already full of coastal hues.

Curiously, the inverse of this rule does not hold true:  Selecting the art and then creating a room around it can yield wildly successful results, especially if the painting or print is relatively complex.  “It’s much better when the art comes first,” said Elizabeth Pyne, an interior decorator at McMillen Inc, in Manhattan. “It provides a launching point for brainstorming and parameters to work within.”  

Another advantage of this egg-before-chicken approach?” The gift of foresight. “When you start with one piece as a reference, it allows you to create an intentional dialogue between everything else in the room,” said Brian Murphy, an interior decorator in New York City. Naturally, there are dos and don’ts.  “It’s really about taking inspiration from the colors in a painting and sometimes the mood,” advised Dallas design Michell Nussbaumer. An Overly faithful interpretation using, for example, Mark Rothko’s “Untitled (Yellow, Red and Blue)” as the catalyst for a blocky bonanza of yellow, red and blue is likely to get you accused of the aforementioned sin.  Cautioned Ms. Nussbaumer, “A literal translation would be the kiss of death.”  

The artwork I am posting with this blog was recently posted on Facebook.  (“Over The Horizon” 20×60 on paper) I am sharing it here on a blue wall.  Yes, the piece has blue in it. But, the wonderful thing is that the contrasting color to blue is yellow, and all the yellow family like orange and green makes for a very striking form.  Needless to say, this is a Shutterstock room and I could have dressed it up more with yellow pillows and a yellow rug but I think you get the point. What a difference from a monotone all blue room.

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